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Sojo // Natural Hair Style Icon

Avatar • Aug 18, 2010

Where do you live?
S:
I’m Haitian born, Bronx bred.

I’m a first generation Haitian-American born to two WONDERFUL parents who moved to the Bronx in their early 20s via the cities of St. Louis and Port-de-Paix, Haiti. My family moved to South Florida when I was very young and thus I was raised here. I’m a city girl at heart with down-south flavor. Currently I am a last-semester, full-time journalism/hospitality student at Florida International University.

Why did you go natural?
S:
My decision to go natural was not a hard one, but it definitely was a long time coming. I’d actually always rather enjoyed the versatility of natural hair and lived vicariously through wash and go’s on my own permed hair. I guess you could say I was a pseudo-natural for some time prior to my transition.

I’d always had what many would consider to be “long” relaxed hair, but honestly, I cared very little for the limited range in style.

Not to mention, with my relaxed hair being the length mine was, I had to rely 100% on my long-time Dominican beautician. My hair had a price- and I was willing to pay. Every single week I paid for a wash, set and blow-out. Finally, after many years, I become tired of the lethal “round-brush and hand dryer” combo. My hair was long but lacked volume or life. I decided to search the internet for tips on “stretching” out my perm in hopes of thickening my follicles.

In the process I realized two things; going natural did not mean I would have to big chop (to each his own but I am human and I can admit to my insecurities… holding on and retaining some of my length was important to me) and that I was falling in LOVE with my strong, and very nappy new growth!

Going natural was basically a decision I made upon discovering the liberty I had as a black woman — I COULD do my own hair. The answer to healthy hair did NOT lie in the hands of my beloved beautician — it was in my kitchen (I’m a kitchen beautician), in the aisles of Whole Foods and in my very own patience.

My last perm was August 2009. I transitioned for 11 months and my cousin assisted me in cutting my permed ends off in July of this year. At this point, I had nearly 6 ½ inches in my crown and 5 ½ inches in some of my shorter areas (back). It was easy to transition through the use of wigs, protective styling, braid-outs, and wash and go’s.

No intent to sound cliché- but going natural has really shot my self esteem through the roof. I have always had insecurities about my fuller lips, cheeks, wider nose, etc. I realized that the very things I critiqued myself on were the very things that contributed to my overall blackness. Having big hair falls along the lines of my “bigger” features, and I am PROUD. My hair compliments me better in the face.

What’s your regimen?
S:

How do you retain length?
S:
Less is more! Although my regimen appears lengthy, it really isn’t. I do not play with my hair often since it stays in PLAITS throughout the whole week (yes, even with co-washing). I wear wigs, scarves, and hats. I remove any head/hair article the second I step in my home and I place a satin bonnet over my natural tresses.

What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
S:
Pay attention to varying hair types growing out of your scalp. If I were to hair-type, I’d say my hair is 4b/c- definitely in the “4” family. It is extremely coarse and long in the crown area and requires very different attention. The nape, sides, and fronts are softer in texture. I wash in 6 sections for a reason. Each type of hair you have on your head requires its own attention.

What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
S:
Lock in moisture through sealants! Kinky hair is thirsty. Water can be both the friend and the enemy if you don’t ensure the moisture is “locked in” rather than “dried out”.

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Roni
10 years ago

Seems like a lot of steps. I am just had my BIG CHOP last Friday. I do use a lot of water to keep the fresh look, but I think I will try adding lavendar and pepperment oil…smells delish!

~Roni

Shones
10 years ago

I appreciate you sharing your regimen. I’ve used bottled/liquid bentonite clay in the past with great results. I don’t know why I stopped. Time to revisit. Do you use the bottled kind that you can also ingest, or the solid/lump kind that you melt?

Ms. Haiti 1982!
Ms. Haiti 1982!
10 years ago

Big ups to my fellow haitian sister, keep it growing and beautiful!

dendoo
dendoo
10 years ago

although you have a lot of steps in your regimen there’s one or two things i want to try. i’ve only been living in japan for a WEEK and my hair has dropped at least half an inch…so i’m going to have to investigate some regimens that will give me healthy hair in this new environment.

lovely interview and beautiful hair!!

CSI
CSI
10 years ago

Love your hair!!!! It’s so beautiful and looks soooooooo soft and wonderful. I love this story because it shows 4B/C’s with very long hair.…If you had such long hair with it relaxed, imagine what it will be like now that you’re natural. Love the puff style. You look even more beautiful with your hair natural. Thanks for sharing 🙂

Earthy Natural
10 years ago

Shout out to FIU! I’m from Miami.

Lovely hair!

SOJO
SOJO
10 years ago

Wow! Thank you ladies for all the wonderful feedback and for reading my story. And thank you Leila for posting it. @ Shones- for the bentonite clay, I actually use the “powder” kind that comes in a jar (Whole Foods, any brand!) and must be mixed with water in order to create a “clay”-like substance. Suprisingly enough, you can also ingest it and add it to teas, juices, etc. It is also good as a facial mask. @CSI- I am glad I could represent the “4” family in all its wonderful, soft, and VERY managable glory. Check out “sera2544” on… Read more »

Cee
Cee
10 years ago

@Dendoo, hey I’m going to Tokyo in two weeks, hows the hair scene there? How are people reacting to your hair? Are you finding any products there? Sorry I’m gonna start packing soon so just a heads up.

thelady
thelady
10 years ago

I’m also a type 4 and I love your hair. I might try some of that clay you recommend to clarify.

dee
dee
10 years ago

I’m from Haiti and I went to FIU!!! Lol.
Gorgeous hair!
Keep it natty…
Peace&love

dendoo
dendoo
10 years ago

@Cee, hope you get a chance to read this boo! If you have Shea butter or something similar then I would HIGHLY recommend bringing it and using it like there is no tomorrow. Keep in mind the heat is Japan is like NOTHING like you will ever experience. I’m from the Caribbean and it’s hot but even I couldn’t handle it. Drink your water not just to keep hydrated but to keep your hair and skin loving you. You might also want to bring a lavender oil to add to a spritz if the smell of smoke in your hair seems… Read more »

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